At Stella Niagara Education Park, we connect kids to their natural environment through time spent outdoors exploring and through bringing nature to the classroom to support continued learning. For the past two years, Mrs. Edwards and Ms. Green’s third grade students partnered with Dr. William Cliff’s Nature Study students from Niagara University to explore the Stella Niagara Preserve and observe the many organisms that live there. The students share observation techniques, practice observing and recording, and ask questions about what they have found. They begin to think of the organisms they find as their neighbors and to understand the value of the Stella Niagara Preserve as a home, migration destination, and important migration refueling stop for the neighbors they have met.
In the winter, the third grade students continue to learn more about their neighbors through the Meet Our Neighbors Project. The students venture out of the classroom to make observations of the organisms that live and visit our school campus and the Stella Niagara Preserve. They research the neighbors they met and create an informational pamphlets. Through their research, the students learn about the habitat, range, diet, and life cycle of their neighbor. They share their neighbor information with their classmates and the entire Stella Niagara population through a hallway display. The student’s pamphlets become part of the Stella Niagara Student Field Guide at the end of the school year.